North Korea flag

North Korea

Missile

Last Updated: May, 2019

North Korea possesses significant ballistic missile capabilities, and since the collapse of the Soviet Union has been one of the most active proliferators of complete ballistic missile systems, components, and technology. Although initially dependent on foreign assistance, notably from the former Soviet Union and China, the program has become almost completely indigenous in materials and expertise. North Korea has tested a series of different missile types, including short-, medium-, intermediate-, and intercontinental- range ballistic missiles, as well as submarine-launched ballistic missiles. [1]

North Korea sees its missile program as both an investment in its security and a means of generating cash. North Korea has sold missile systems and technology to other countries, in spite of United Nations Security Council Resolutions specifically prohibiting such trade. North Korea is not a member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) or the Hague Code of Conduct against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (HCOC).

After several years of frequent ballistic missile tests, on 28 November 2017, North Korea successfully flight-tested the Hwasong-15, an ICBM which it claims is capable of delivering a nuclear weapon anywhere in the United States. Shortly afterward, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un declared that North Korea had “finally realized the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force, the cause of building a rocket power.” A diplomatic thaw followed, during which Kim Jong-un reportedly offered to “stop nuclear tests and launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles” in April 2018. Kim also expressed a desire to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump, which Trump accepted, and the two leaders subsequently met on 12 June 2018 in Singapore. [2] After a second summit between the two leaders collapsed on 29 February 2019 in Vietnam, North Korea resumed missile tests in May 2019. On 4 May and 9 May 2019, North Korea launched a total of three solid-fueled short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs), which were first displayed at a military parade in February 2018. [3]

Click here to take a virtual stroll through a North Korean missile museum. VR goggle compatible!

History

North Korea first entered the field of rockets and missiles in the early 1960s with the production of multiple rocket launchers. [4] By 1965, Kim Il Sung made the political decision to seek an indigenous ballistic missile production capability. That year marked the establishment of the Hamhung Military Academy, where North Korean personnel began receiving training in missile development. [5] In general, the 1960s saw the procurement of rockets, surface-to-air missiles (SAMs), anti-ship missiles, and the initial development of human resources to support a missile program. By 1967-71, DPRK’s military budget increased to about 30 percent of its state budget. [6]

A number of factors likely motivated North Korea’s leadership to acquire and develop ballistic missile capabilities. First, Kim Il Sung viewed ballistic missiles as weapons to deter or defeat U.S. military forces in a subsequent conflict. Second, rocky alliance relationships with both the Soviet Union and China caused Kim to question the credibility of their commitments to aid North Korea in the event of another war. [7]

Early Ballistic Missile Developments

During the late 1960s, North Korea acquired surface-to-ship missiles and FROG-5/7 rockets from the Soviet Union. [8] By 1970, China was delivering surface-to-ship missiles, SAMs, and technical assistance. [9] In September 1971, North Korea signed an agreement with China to acquire, develop, and produce ballistic missiles and other weapon systems. However, substantial cooperation did not begin until about 1977, when North Korean engineers were able to participate in a joint program to develop China’s DF-61. [10]

The development of North Korean human resources was necessary, but not sufficient, for the relatively rapid progress of its missile development program. For many years, North Korea relied upon the transfer of hardware and technology from more advanced producers. North Korea obtained Soviet-made Scud-B missiles to begin a reverse-engineering program, but the timing and source of the procurement are still unclear—the first missiles may have been acquired as early as 1972 from the USSR. [11] The general view, however, is that Egypt provided the first Scud-B missiles to North Korea in 1976, or at some time between 1979 and 1981. [12]

By 1984, North Korea had produced and flight-tested the Hwasong-5, an indigenous version of the Scud-B. In 1985 North Korea reached an agreement with Iran to obtain financial assistance for missile development and production in exchange for Iran’s option to purchase North Korean missiles in the future. [13] Iran’s ballistic missile "war of the cities" with Iraq created an opportunity for North Korea to earn foreign exchange and increase economies of scale in production. Furthermore, Iran’s use of the Hwasong-5 provided North Korea with performance data that would otherwise have required extensive indigenous flight-testing.

From 1985 to 1986, North Korea began to construct missile bases for the Hwasong-5, which entered serial production by 1987. It is believed the production rate peaked at eight to ten missiles per month during 1987 to 1988. [14] As soon as, or shortly after, mass production of the Hwasong-5 began, North Korea began development of the Hwasong-6 (Scud-C), before rapidly starting the Nodong development program around the 1987 to 1989 timeframe. [15] This prompt sequence of development is remarkable, and historically unprecedented for a small developing country. Late-industrializing countries can reduce the time required for industrialization, and the same is true in the area of missiles. However, accelerated development is generally a function of foreign technology transfers, so North Korea’s extremely rapid progress in missile development suggests a high level of foreign technical assistance.

By the late 1980s, North Korea began construction of medium-range missiles. Around 1990 to 1991, serial production of the Hwasong-6 began, at about the same time that the first Nodong prototypes were built. [16] Meanwhile, North Korea began to provide technology transfers, and even turnkey Scud factories, to countries in the Middle East.

Intermediate-Range Ballistic Missile Development

Learn more by viewing the CNS North Korea Missile Test Database.

In the late 1980s, North Korea’s Second Natural Science Institute began development of the Nodong (or Rodong) medium-range ballistic missile. North Korea reportedly obtained Nodong sales contracts with Libya, Iran, and possibly Syria and Pakistan before successfully flight-testing the Nodong in late May 1993. [17] North Korea began to deploy the Nodong in 1995. [18] As the Nodong’s development neared completion, North Korean engineers began work on the Taepodong-1, a three-stage missile with a Nodong as the first stage, a Hwasong (Scud) variant as the second stage, and an unknown, likely solid-fueled third stage. [19] The Taepodong-1 was flight-tested in a space launch configuration on 31 August 1998, but failed to place a small satellite named Kwangmyongsong-1 into earth’s orbit due to the failure of its third stage. [20]

In 2003, U.S. satellite imagery revealed the development of a new North Korean intermediate-range ballistic missile known as the Musudan BM-25. The missile was derived from the Soviet R-27 (SS-N-6) liquid-fueled submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), which the Soviets deployed from the 1960s to the 1980s and had a range of up to 2,500km. [21] The Musudan is a mobile, land-based, and liquid-fueled ballistic missile with a length of 12 meters, diameter of 1.5 meters, and a range of 2,500-4,000km. [22]

North Korea displayed the Musudan for the first time in 2007, although no images of the missile were released. In late 2009, leaked U.S. diplomatic cables revealed that North Korea likely exported Musudan missiles to Iran. [23] The Musudan made its public debut in front of the Western press in an October 2010 military parade alongside Kim Jong-un, who made his own international press-debut at the event. The October parade was also notable for unveiling a new Nodong variant with a triconic nose-cone that greatly resembles Iran’s Ghader-1 missile, perhaps hinting at further cooperation. [24]

North Korea did not test the Musudan until 2016. From April to June of 2016, there were six missile tests in quick succession, the first five of which were failures. [25] This rapid testing was unusual for North Korea and did not allow time to troubleshoot, emphasizing the political nature of the tests. [26] The sixth Musudan test, however, appeared to have succeeded in flying on a lofted trajectory traveling 400km in distance while reaching an altitude of 1400km. [27] Experts believe the missile’s operational range is substantially greater, and that North Korea tested the system at a lofted angle to keep the missile in its own territorial space. [28]

On 5 September 2016, North Korea carried out a simultaneous test of three never-before-seen missiles which landed about 200km west of Japan. [29] The missiles were likely Extended Range Scuds (ER Scuds). [30] The ER Scud appears to be slightly larger than the Scuds traditionally employed by the regime; however, the missiles possess almost twice the range. [31] The test took place in the middle of the 2016 G20 Hangzhou Summit and drew a sharp public rebuke from Chinese President Xi Jinping. [32]

On 6 March 2017, North Korea carried out a salvo fire of four ER Scuds into the Sea of Japan. [33] Open-source analysis of the tests indicated that they were intended to simulate a nuclear strike against the U.S. military base at Iwakuni, Japan. [34]

Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Development

Beginning in the 1990’s, North Korea acquired essential technical experience for ICBM development from its ostensibly peaceful space launch vehicle program. North Korea flight tested the three-stage Taepodong-1 in 1998, followed by the Taepodong-2 in July 2006, both times failing to achieve orbit. [35] Despite North Korean protests, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) unanimously adopted Resolution 1695 on 15 July 2006 in response to the tests, demanding that North Korea suspend all missile-related activities and requiring all UN member states to prevent the transfer of missile-related materials and technologies to North Korea. [36]

On 5 April 2009, North Korea launched an Unha-2 space launch vehicle, a modified version of the Taepodong-2, to place a satellite into orbit. [37] No orbit was detected by outside observers, and the launch was seen as a technical failure. [38] Three years later, in April 2012, North Korea attempted to launch an Unha-3 rocket, which was capable of carrying a larger payload than its predecessor. [39] The launch was a failure, and it was condemned by both the international community and the United States, and precipitated the collapse of the nascent “Leap Day Agreement,” in which North Korea had agreed to suspend nuclear and missile tests in exchange for food aid. [40] North Korea later successfully tested the Unha-3 rocket twice, on 12 December 2012 and 7 February 2016. [41] The 2016 launch triggered widespread international condemnation and, in conjunction with a January 2016 nuclear test, led to additional sanctions against North Korea. [42] North Korea displayed a new ICBM missile system at a parade shortly after the February test. The new missiles, known externally as the KN-08 or Hwasong-13, were displayed on six trucks of Chinese origin, which had been converted to transporter-erector-launchers (TELs). [43]

On 12 February 2017, North Korea tested a new missile called the Pukguksong-2. The missile, which traveled approximately 500km and landed east of North Korea in the Sea of Japan, was the land-based version of the Pukkuksong-1 submarine-launched ballistic missile. [44] The missile was tested using a cold-launch canister system carried on a tracked TEL, and represented an advance in North Korea’s solid-fueled rocket capabilities. [45] Not only does the Pukguksong-2 missile require minimal logistical support, but it is also more mobile and survivable than a Nodong or Scud missile. [46] The test occurred during Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe’s visit to the United States to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump, and U.S. officials noted at the time that the successful test could aid the DPRK’s development of an ICBM. [47]

On the morning of 4 July 2017, North Korea successfully flight-tested its first ICBM, the Hwasong-14, from a field outside the town of Panghyon. [48] The missile was fired at a lofted angle, achieving an altitude of approximately 2,800km before descending into the Sea of Japan, approximately 930km away. [49] Analyst estimates based on the test indicated that the missile demonstrated a range between 6,700km and 8,000km based on if it was launched on a more effective trajectory. [50] The international community condemned the test, and the United States and South Korea conducted a joint missile exercise in response. [51] North Korea tested the Hwasong-14 a second time on 28 July. The test showed improved performance indicating a projected range of over 10,000km, according to some analysts. [52]

On 29 November 2017, North Korea announced the successful test of a new ICBM, the Hwasong-15. The missile was tested during a night launch and was said to have reached an altitude of 4,475km and flew 950km. This suggests that the Hwasong-15 on a standard trajectory would have a range of at least 13,000km, putting the entire continental United States in range. [53] Images of the missile released by North Korea after the launch show that the Hwasong-15 is larger than the Hwasong-14, and includes a number of technical improvements over its predecessor. The first of the Hwasong-15’s two stages appears to possess a twin-chambered, gimbaled engine, making it substantially more efficient and maneuverable. The second stage was noticeably larger than the second stage of the Hwasong-14, possibly indicating a larger engine. [54] After the test, North Korean state media claimed that the country had “finally realized the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force.” [55]

Although North Korea has conducted successful tests of both nuclear weapons and ICBMs, there is no expert consensus as to whether North Korea has demonstrated an operational re-entry vehicle, a necessary technology for delivering a nuclear warhead on an ICBM. [56]

Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM) Development

The North Korean navy maintains one of the world’s largest submarine forces, and has been developing submarine-launched ballistic missile capabilities. [57] In July 2014, open-source analysts spotted a new type of submarine at the Sinpo Shipyard with visible conning towers that might be used to house either ballistic or cruise missiles. [58] On 10 May 2015, North Korea released images of Kim Jong-un observing a test of a Pukkuksong-1 (or Polaris-1) SLBM purportedly launched from a submerged submarine, but later analysis determined that the missile was launched from a submerged barge. [59]

North Korea unveiled a new submarine capable of firing a single ballistic missile in mid-2015, identified later as a Gorae-class ballistic-missile submarine (SSBN). North Korea is thought to have a single Gorae SSBN and it has not yet proven to be operational. [60] North Korea observers have alleged that the country is building a new SSBN as a successor to the Gorae, called the Sinpo-C class within the U.S. intelligence community. The new Sinpo-C class submarine may feature a wider range and be able to accommodate a more advanced SLBM. [61]

North Korea has conducted six SLBM tests to date, with most thought to have been launched from a test barge instead of a submarine itself. [62] On 23 April 2016, North Korea tested what experts believe was a solid-fueled SLBM. [63] The missile flew only 30km, well below its expected range of 1000km, but subsequent tests have been more successful. [64] To date, North Korea has conducted all of its SLBM tests near its east coast port at Sinpo, but appears to be building a second, identical test barge at its west coast port at Nampo, which will expand its testing capability. [65]

Missile Exports

Since the mid-1980’s, North Korea has been an exporter of complete ballistic missile systems to countries throughout the world. Past customers include Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Iran, the UAE, and Pakistan. A series of United Nations Security Council resolutions, unilateral sanctions, and voluntary national associations such as the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) have curbed North Korea’s missile exports, while having also diminished demand in the Middle East. [66] However, North Korea continues to be a missile exporter in spite of UN sanctions. In February 2018, a report published within the UN asserted that North Korea has illicitly traded missiles and other military technology with Myanmar. The report indicated that Myanmar “received ballistic missile systems from [North Korea] in addition to a range of conventional weapons, including multiple rocket launchers and surface-to-air missiles.” [67]

In other cases, North Korean missile export relationships with other countries have matured into international cooperation and collaboration in ballistic missile development. Notably, Iran imported missile systems from North Korea from the time of the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980’s, and many Iranian ballistic missiles are based on North Korean designs. However, in recent years, the North Korean-Iranian relationship has become more collaborative. [68] For example, North Korea’s solid-fuel Pukguksong missile program bears many technical similarities to missiles and propellant developed in Iran. [69] Iranian experts have reportedly assisted North Korea in its development of rocket boosters for its space-launch vehicle program. [70]

Recent Developments

On 20 April 2018, Kim Jong-un reportedly offered to “stop nuclear tests and launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles,” according to KCNA, North Korea’s state-controlled news service. [71] On 9 March 2018, South Korean officials announced that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was “committed to denuclearization” and wished to meet U.S. President Donald Trump. [72] On 12 June 2018, Kim Jong-un and President Trump met at a summit meeting in Singapore, the first ever face-to-face meeting between leaders of the U.S. and the DPRK. The two nations agreed to “build a lasting and stable peace regime,” and the DPRK committed to “work toward denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.” [73] However, North Korea made no firm commitments to curtail its missile program at the summit or during subsequent rounds of diplomacy.

North Korea refrained from conducting further missile tests until 4 May and 9 May 2019: 4 May saw the testing of one SRBM, and 9 May saw the testing of two SRBMs. [74] Analysts noted that the SRBM launched on 4 May was similar in design to the Russian Iskander SRBM. [75]

The May tests did not violate North Korea’s commitment to cease ICBM and nuclear testing, and the international response, including from the U.S. and South Korea, was relatively muted. [76] The tests appeared to confirm analysis from the U.S. intelligence services and open-source community that North Korea has continued to produce and develop new missiles since its self-imposed ICBM moratorium. [77]

Sources:
[1] “North Korea’s Military Capabilities,” Council on Foreign Relations, 30 November 2017, www.cfr.org.
[2] Leo Byrne, “Kim Jong Un Says No Further Nuclear, ICBM Tests Needed,” NK News, 20 April 2018, nknews.org; “Trump and North Korea Talks: South Korean Statement in Full,” BBC News, 9 March 2018, www.bbc.com.
[3] Jonathan Lemire, Deb Riechmann, and Foster Klug, “Trump, Kim End Summit With Standoff Over Easing US Sanctions,” Associated Press, 28 February 2019, www.apnews.com.
[4] Christopher F. Foss, editor, Jane’s Armour and Artillery 1991-92 (Coulsdon, Surrey: Jane’s Information Group, 1991), p. 719.
[5] Yun Deok-min, "미-북 미사일 협상의 현황과 전망 (Current and future of US-NK Missile negotiation)," ROK IFANS policy paper, 22 November 2000, p. 2; Joseph S. Bermudez, Jr., "A History of Ballistic Missile Development in the DPRK," Occasional Paper No. 2, Center for Nonproliferation Studies, November 1999, p. 2; Testimony of Ko Yong-hwan, former North Korean Foreign Ministry official, before the US Senate, 21 October 1997.
[6] "통일부 (Ministry of Unification)," 2004 북한개요 (2004 North Korea Summary), Seoul, South Korea: Ministry of Unification, 2003, p. 198.
[7] The Second Machine Industry Ministry, under the party secretary in charge of military industries, was established shortly after Kim’s declaration. The Second Machine Industry Ministry was renamed the "Second Economic Committee" in 1971. The Second Economic Committee is responsible for the production of all armaments. See Joseph S. Bermudez, The Armed Forces of North Korea (New York: I. B. Tauris, 2001), pp. 45-46; "민생 희생 위 군수산업 번창 (Military Industry prosperity on public’s dedication)," Hankyoreh Shinmun, 31 March 1997, p. 6, www.kinds.or.kr; Kim Gwang-in, "돼지공장’ 선 미사일 생산 (Producing Missiles in ‘Pig Factory’)," Chosun Ilbo, 11 February 2001, www.chosun.com.
[8] Jang Jun-ik, 북한핵 미사일 전쟁 (North Korea Nuclear Missile War) Seoul: Seomundang, May 1999, pp. 246-247; Joseph S. Bermudez, Jr., "A History of Ballistic Missile Development in the DPRK," Occasional Paper No. 2, Center for Nonproliferation Studies, November 1999, pp. 4-5; Joseph S. Bermudez, Jr., "The North Korean ‘Scud B’ Program," Jane’s Soviet Intelligence Review, May 1989, pp. 203-207; Christopher F. Foss, editor, Jane’s Armour and Artillery 1991-92 (Coulsdon, Surrey: Jane’s Information Group, 1991), p. 749.
[9] Joseph S. Bermudez, Jr., "The North Korean ‘Scud B’ Program," Jane’s Soviet Intelligence Review, May 1989, pp. 203-207; Christopher F. Foss, editor, Jane’s Armour and Artillery 1991-92 (Coulsdon, Surrey: Jane’s Information Group, 1991), p. 749; Gordon Jacobs and Tim McCarthy, "China’s Missile Sales-Few Changes for the Future," Jane’s Intelligence Review, December 1992, p. 560.
[10] The DF-61 was designed to be a liquid-propelled ballistic missile with a range of about 600km while delivering a 1,000kg warhead. The program was cancelled because of Chinese domestic political reasons in 1978. See Joseph S. Bermudez, Jr., "A History of Ballistic Missile Development in the DPRK," Occasional Paper No. 2, Center for Nonproliferation Studies, November 1999, p. 3; Hua Di, "One Superpower Worse than Two," Asia-Pacific Defense Reporter, September 1991, pp. 14-15; John Wilson Lewis and Hua Di, "Beijing’s Defense Establishment: Solving the Arms Export Enigma," International Security, Fall 1992, pp. 5-40; Jang Jun-ik, 북한핵 미사일 전쟁 (North Korea Nuclear Missile War) (Seoul: Seomundang, May 1999), pp. 248-249.
[11] A high-level North Korean defector claims that Pyongyang leveraged its capture of the USS Pueblo and the hardware on board to bargain with Moscow and get a contract for the delivery of 20 Scud-B missiles. This report and any details about an agreement for subsequent deliveries or technology transfers have not been substantiated. Interview with North Korean defector by CNS senior research associate Daniel A. Pinkston, 1 November 2000, Seoul.
[12] ROK Ministry of Unification, Information Analysis Bureau, "북한 미사일 문제 관련 참고자료 (References about NK missile problem)," Press Release, 3 November 2000, p. 1; Joseph S. Bermudez, Jr., "A History of Ballistic Missile Development in the DPRK," Occasional Paper No. 2, Center for Nonproliferation Studies, November 1999, p. 10; Jang Jun-ik, 북한핵 미사일 전쟁 (North Korea Nuclear Missile War), Seoul: Seomundang, May 1999, pp. 249, 266; Lee Jeong-hun, "프로그에서 대포동 까지: 북한 미사일 게임 (From FROG to Taepodong: North Korea’s Missile Game)," Shindonga, August 1999, p. 202; Joseph S. Bermudez, Jr., "Ballistic Ambitions Ascendant," Jane’s Defence Weekly, 10 April 1993, pp. 20, 22; Jang Jun-ik, 북한핵 미사일 전쟁 (North Korea Nuclear Missile War), Seoul: Seomundang, May 1999), pp. 249-250, 257, 266; Lee Jeong-hun, 프로그에서 대포동 까지: 북한 미사일 게임 (From FROG to Taepodong: North Korea’s Missile Game)," Shindonga, August 1999, p. 202; Hajime Ozu, Missile 2000: Reference Guide to World Missile Systems (Tokyo: Shinkigensha, 2000), p. 95; "Ballistic Missile Threat Evolves," International Defense Review, Vol. 33, No. 10, 1 October 2000, in Lexis-Nexis, www.lexis-nexis.com.
[13] Joseph S. Bermudez, Jr., "A History of Ballistic Missile Development in the DPRK," Occasional Paper No. 2, Center for Nonproliferation Studies, November 1999; Lee Jeong-hun, "프로그에서 대포동 까지: 북한 미사일 게임 (From FROG to Taepodong: North Korea’s Missile Game)," Shindonga, August 1999, p. 202.
[14] Joseph S. Bermudez, Jr., "A History of Ballistic Missile Development in the DPRK," Occasional Paper No. 2, Center for Nonproliferation Studies, November 1999, p. 12-15.
[15] Joseph S. Bermudez, Jr., "A History of Ballistic Missile Development in the DPRK," Occasional Paper No. 2, Center for Nonproliferation Studies, November 1999, p. 16.
[16] Joseph S. Bermudez, Jr., "A History of Ballistic Missile Development in the DPRK," Occasional Paper No. 2, Center for Nonproliferation Studies, November 1999, p. 11.
[17] Steven Emerson, "The Postwar Scud Boom," Wall Street Journal, July 10, 1991, p. A12; "DPRK Reportedly to Build New Scud Missile," Yonhap News Agency, 3 June 1991; Bill Gertz, "Libya May Buy N. Korean Missiles," Washington Times, 4 June 1991, p. 4; Bill Gertz, "China, N. Korea Secretly Deliver Missiles to Mideast via Cyprus," Washington Times, 2 July 1991, p. A4; Leslie Susser, "How to Control the Arms Race and Stay on Top," The Jerusalem Report, 13 June 1991, p. 27, in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, http://web.lexis-nexis.com; Joseph S. Bermudez, Jr., "A History of Ballistic Missile Development in the DPRK," Occasional Paper No. 2, Center for Nonproliferation Studies, November 1999, p. 23; U.S. reconnaissance satellites detected a Nodong missile on the launch pad at the Musudan-ri missile test site in May 1990, but subsequent imagery revealed burn marks on the pad, which indicated a probable test failure.
[18] "Musudan (BM-25)," Jane’s Strategic Weapon Systems, 20 July 2010.
[19] Federation of American Scientists, “North Korea’s Taepodong and Unha Missiles,” 2013, fas.org.
[20] Joseph Bermudez, "North Koreans Test Two-Stage IRBM over Japan," Jane’s Defence Weekly, 9 September 1998.
[21] John Schilling, "Three (or Four) Strikes for the Musudan?" 38 North, 1 June 2016, www.38north.org. Some of the Soviet scientists who had worked on the R-27 program moved to North Korea following the collapse of the U.S.S.R, and North Korea may have also procured some of the program’s surplus hardware.
[22] "Musudan (BM-25)," Jane’s Strategic Weapons Systems, 20 July 2010.
[23] State Department, Secretary of State, "Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR): North Korea’s Missile Program," Cable to the Missile Technology Control Regime, WikiLeaks, 6 October 2009, www.wikileaks.org.
[24] Catherine Boye, Melissa Hanham, Seungho Lee, "Missiles, Maneuvers and Mysteries: Review of Recent Developments in North Korea," CNS Feature Stories, 2 November 2010, www.nonproliferation.org.
[25] Tamir Eshel, "North Korean Musudan IRBM Failed - Again," Defense Update, 31 May 2016, defense-update.com.
[26] John Schilling, "North Korea: Four times unlucky, or just foolish?" CNN, 5 June 2016, www.cnn.com.
[27] Jung-un Kim, Madison Park, and Barbara Starr, "North Korea fires two missiles, South Korea says," CNN, 22 June 2016, www.cnn.com.
[28] Justin McCurry, "North Korea: UN security council ‘to meet’ after missile tests," The Guardian, 22 June 2016, www.theguardian.com.
[29] Su-Hyun Lee, "North Korea Test-Fires 3 Missiles Toward Japan, Seoul Says," New York Times, 5 September 2016, www.nytimes.com.
[30] Jeffrey Lewis, "A First Glimpse of North Korea’s Elusive ER SCUD," NTI, 8 September 2016, www.nti.org.
[31] Jeffrey Lewis, "A First Glimpse of North Korea’s Elusive ER SCUD," NTI, 8 September 2016, www.nti.org.
[32] Su-Hyun Lee, "North Korea Test-Fires 3 Missiles Toward Japan, Seoul Says," New York Times, 5 September 2016, www.nytimes.com.
[33] Dave Schmerler, “Did North Korea test a fifth missile last week?” NK News, 16 March 2017, www.nknews.com.
[34] Jesse Johnson, “North Korean missile drill simulated targeting Iwakuni base. Analysis shows,” The Japan Times, 8 March 2017, www.japantimes.co.jp.
[35] Stockman, Farah, "Defiant North Korea Tests Missiles; Launching Stirs Diplomatic Furor," Boston Globe, 5 July 2006, in Lexis-Nexis, http://web.lexis-nexis.com; "Taepo Dong 2," Jane’s Strategic Weapons Systems, 20 July 2010.
[36] "N Korea Vows More Missile Tests," BBC News, 6 July 2006, http://news.bbc.co.uk; United Nations Security Council, "Resolution 1695 (2006)," adopted by the Security Council at its 5490th meeting on 15 July 2006, www.un.org.
[37] "Taepo Dong 2," Jane’s Strategic Weapons Systems, 20 July 2010.
[38] Jae-soon Chang and Kelly Olsen, "Analysts: Rocket Gives N. Korea New Bargaining Chip," Associated Press, 6 April 2009.
[39] Evan Ramstad and Laura Meckler, "North Korean Launch Fails," Wall Street Journal, 13 April 2012, http://online.wsj.com.
[40] Ankit Panda, “A Great Leap to Nowhere: Remembering the US-North Korea ‘Leap Day’ Deal,” The Diplomat, 29 February 2016, thediplomat.com; Elise Hu, “Lessons of the North Korea ‘Leap Day Deal,’” National Public Radio, 13 April 2018, www.npr.org.
[41] Kim Eun-jung, "S. Korea, U.S. Assess N. Korea’s Rocket Launch as Success," Yonhap News Agency, 12 December 2012, http://yonhapnews.co.kr; Schilling, John, "North Korea’s Space Launch: An Initial Assessment," 38 North, 9 February 2016, http://38north.org.
[42] Rick Gladstone and David E. Sanger, "New Sanctions on North Korea Pass in Unified U.N. Vote," New York Times, 7 March 2016, www.nytimes.com.
[43] Melissa Hanham, "North Korea’s Procurement Network Strikes Again: Examining How Chinese Missile Hardware Ended Up in Pyongyang," NTI Issue Brief, 31 July 2012, www.nti.org.
[44] David Wright, “North Korea’s February 12 Missile Launch,” All Things Nuclear Blog, updated 19 February 2017, allthingsnuclear.org.
[45] John Schilling, “The Pukguksong-2: A Higher Degree of Mobility, Survivability, and Responsiveness,” 38 North, 13 February 2017, 38north.org.
[46] John Schilling, “The Pukguksong-2: A Higher Degree of Mobility, Survivability, and Responsiveness,” 38 North, 13 February 2017, 38north.org.
[47] Steve Almasy and Joshua Berlinger, “North Korea calls ballistic missile test-fire a success,” CNN, updated 13 February 2017, www.cnn.com; Chinese officials reacted to the test by imposing a ban that suspends North Korean coal imports until the end of 2017, aiming to increase pressure on the DPRK by targeting its biggest export.
[48] “North Korea’s Hwasong-14 Missile Launch Site Identified: The Panghyon Aircraft Factory,” 38 North, 6 July 2017, www.38north.org.
[49] David Wright, “North Korea Appears to Launch Missile with 6,700km Range,” All Things Nuclear Blog: Union of Concerned Scientists, 3 July 2017, www.allthingsnuclear.org.
[50] John Schilling, “North Korea Finally Tests an ICBM,” 38 North, 5 July 2017, www.38north.org.
[51] Rick Gladstone and Choe Sang-Hun, “U.S. Vows Tougher Action on North Korea After Missile Test,” New York Times, 5 July 2017, www.nytimes.com.
[52] Smith, Josh, “How North Korea’s latest ICBM test stacks up,” Reuters, 28 November 2017, reuters.com.
[53] Smith, Josh, “How North Korea’s latest ICBM test stacks up,” Reuters, 28 November 2017, reuters.com.
[54] Panda, Ankit, “The Hwasong-15: The Anatomy of North Korea’s New ICBM,” The Diplomat, 6 December 2017, thediplomat.com; Foster Klug and Hyung Jin-Kim, “Kim Vows North Korea’s Nukes are Not on Negotiation Table,” Associated Press, 6 July 2017, www.apnews.com.
[55] Uri Friedman, “North Korea Says It Has ‘Completed’ Its Nuclear Program,” The Atlantic, 29 November 2017, www.theatlantic.com.
[56] Jeffrey Lewis, “Five Things You Need to Know about Kim Jong Un’s Photo Op with the Bomb,” 38 North, 11 March 2016, www.38north.org; Michael Elleman, “Video Casts Doubt on North Korea’s Ability to Field an ICBM Re-Entry Vehicle,” 38 North, 31 July 2017, www.38north.org; Michael Elleman, “North Korea’s Third ICBM Launch,” 38 North, 29 November 2017, www.38north.org.
[57] “Military and Security Developments Involving the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea 2015: A Report to Congress Pursuant to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012,” United States Department of Defense, 5 January 2016, www.defense.gov.
[58] Joseph S. Bermudez Jr, "North Korea’s SINPO-class Sub: New Evidence of Possible Vertical Missile Launch Tubes; Sinpo Shipyard Prepares for Significant Naval Construction Program," 38 North, 8 January 2015, http://38north.org.
[59] Jeffrey Lewis, "DPRK SLBM Test," Arms Control Wonk, 13 May 2015, http://lewis.armscontrolwonk.com.
[60] Joseph S. Bermudez Jr., “North Korea’s Submarine Ballistic Missile Program Moves Ahead: Indications of Shipbuilding and Missile Ejection Testing,” 38 North, 16 November 2017, www.38north.org.
[61] Ankit Panda, “The Sinpo-C Class: A New North Korean Ballistic Missile Submarine is Under Construction,” The Diplomat, 18 October 2017.
[62] “Chronology of North Korea’s Missile, Rocket Launches,” Yonhap News Agency, 5 April 2017, english.yonhapnews.co.kr.
[63] John Schilling, "A New Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile for North Korea," 38 North, 25 April 2016.
[64] Kin Tong-Hyung, "Seoul: N. Korea appears to fire submarine-launched missile," AP, 23 April 2016; John Schilling, "A New Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile for North Korea," 38 North, 25 April 2016.
[65] Joseph S. Bermudez, Jr., “North Korea’s Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile Program Advances: Second Missile Test Stand Barge Almost Operational,” 38 North, 1 December, 2017, www.38north.org.
[66] Joshua Pollock, “Ballistic Trajectory: the Evolution of North Korea’s Ballistic Missile Market,” Nonproliferation Review, Vol. 18, No. 2, July 2011, www.nonproliferation.org.
[67] “North Korea Arming Syria, Myanmar: UN Report,” Al-Jazeera, 3 February 2018, www.aljazeera.com.
[68] Jeffrey Lewis, “Will Iran’s Simorgh Space Launcher Appear in North Korea?” Nuclear Threat Initiative, 8 July 2016, www.nti.org.
[69] Michael Elleman, “North Korea-Iran Missile Cooperation,” 38 North, 22 September 2016, www.38north.org.
[70] U.S. Department of the Treasury, “Treasury Sanctions Those Involved in Ballistic Missile Procurement for Iran,” 17 January 2016, www.treasury.gov.
[71] Leo Byrne, “Kim Jong Un Says No Further Nuclear, ICBM Tests Needed,” NK News, 20 April 2018, nknews.org.
[72] “Trump and North Korea Talks: South Korean Statement in Full,” BBC News, 9 March 2018, www.bbc.com.
[73] The White House, “Joint Statement of President Donald J. Trump of the United States of America and Chairman Kim Jong Un of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea at the Singapore Summit,” 12 June 2018, www.whitehouse.gov.
[74] Simon Scarr, et al., “New Missile Tests Raise Tensions on the Korean Peninsula,” Reuters, 6 May 2019, reuters.com; Choe Sang-Hun, “North Kroea Fires 2 Short-Range Ballistic Missiles, South’s Military Says,” New York Times, 9 May 2019, nytimes.com.
[75] Michael Elleman, “North Korea’s Newest Ballistic Missile: A Preliminary Assessment,” 38 North, 8 May 2019, www.38north.org; Geoff Brumfiel, “North Korea’s Newest Missile Appears Similar to Advanced Russian Design,” National Public Radio, 8 May 2019, npr.org.
[76] Ankit Panda, “North Korea Confirms First Ballistic Missile Launch in Nearly 18 Months,” The Diplomat, 6 May 2019, thediplomat.com; Oh Seok-min, “(5th LD) North Korea Fires Short-Range Projectiles into East Sea,” Yonhap News Agency, 4 May 2019, en.yna.co.kr; A spokesperson for South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff refrained from calling the missile tested on 4 May a “ballistic missile,” preferring instead “projectile.”
[77] Ellen Nakashima and Joby Warrick, “U.S. Spy Agencies: North Korea Is Working on New Missiles,” Washington Post, 30 July 2018, www.washingtonpost.com.

Get the Facts on North Korea
  • Conducted nuclear tests in 2006, 2009, 2013, 2016, and 2017
  • Not party to the CWC and believed to possess 2,500-5,000 metric tons of chemical weapons
  • Active exporter of ballistic missile components, technology, and design data

This material is produced independently for NTI by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, or agents. Copyright 2019.